two coast kitchen

food, photos, and fantastic adventures


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Farro with Roasted Veggies

farro with roasted veggies

Something I aim to have in our fridge at all times are lunch options. We¬†both work at a University, so not having to spend money every day buying lunch adds up quickly. Even though there are only two of us in the house, it is rare when I cook just enough food for two people for dinner. Usually I make enough for four so we will have leftovers for lunch the next day. It also makes the morning routine go smoothly since we aren’t worried about preparing ourselves lunch. It’s already packed up from the night before.

farro with roasted veggies

Every now and then I do only make enough food for dinner. For example we didn’t have leftovers from the steak salad – all that steak got snatched up. For those days when no dinner leftovers are to be found, I try to have another option ready to go. I have found making big batches of grain salads really hit the spot. They are so versatile, I can throw any combination of veggies, beans, dressing, etc, into them and voila, I have a healthy, filling lunch option. Grain salads are an amazing vegetarian option. They can also be used as a side dish for dinner, and served hot, room temp, or cold. Did you grill up some chicken last night and have some leftover? Throw that on top. It is hard to go wrong here.

farro with roasted veggies Continue reading


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Steak Salad

steak salad

Steak salads are something I am drawn to at restaurants. It’s one of those salads that can work as a meal that fills you up, yet you don’t feel stuffed, just satisfied. However, steak salads can be on the pricey side, and for that price I never feel like I get enough steak! Give me more meat! Yeah, I said it.

This salad comes together SUPER quick. The meat doesn’t call for any extra marination time, and there is minimal chopping involved. This is a perfect weeknight meal. Since it is still freezing in Pennsylvania, I used a grill pan on the stove, but this can be done on a regular grill as well. If you don’t feel like making your own dressing (however I highly recommend it) and have a jar in the fridge, feel free to use whatever you have on hand.

When this salad comes together and you get a bite of all the components, this salad really sings. The sweetness from the grilled onion, the creaminess and tang from the blue cheese, the smokey grilled steak… I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty amazing you guys. Pair this with a glass of red wine, and you are good to go.

steak salad
Coat the steak in olive oil and Worcestershire.

onions for steak salad
Brush both sides of onion with olive oil. I love this silicone pastry brush. It is dishwasher safe so cleaning it is a breeze. You can find it at Ikea. It comes in a two pack with a larger brush.

onions for steak salad
Grill onions. Check out those grill marks. That’s where all the flavor is. Grilling red onions brings out their sweetness.

steak salad
Grill that steak! Only takes a few minutes on each side. When you first put the meat on the hot pan, it should stick. That’s okay, don’t try and move it! The meat will release from the pan after a couple minutes. When the meat is done, put it on a cutting board and cover it with foil. Letting the meat rest will let the juices redistribute throughout the meat and will reduce the amount of juices lost when cutting. This will give you enough time to prep the lettuce and tomatoes. Continue reading


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Chocolate Stout Cake

chocolate stout cake
Inspired by St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to make some food to compliment all the Guinness that will be consumed. Bangers and mash are on the menu , but I also wanted to add something sweet. Last weekend friends Allison & Zack came for a visit. Allison brought along a delicious treat for us – some chocolate stout cake she had made earlier in the week. After one bite, I was hooked. This recipe went straight to the top of my “what to make next” list.

chocolate stout cake

I made this in a bundt pan, but you could also make it in two round cake pans. You could try making this as cupcakes, but the cake might not be as moist. I went with a chocolate stout beer made by Rogue Ales. Any kind of stout or porter beer will work. By simmering the two cups of beer down to one cup, you are intensifying the flavors in the beer, so using a chocolate stout will compliment the cocoa powder in the cake. You can also just top this with some powdered sugar and you are good to go.chocolate stout cake

I made some changes from the original recipe. I used whole wheat white flour for the second cup, but regular whole wheat flour can be used. The original recipe called for plain full fat yogurt. I had some nonfat Greek yogurt on hand, so I used that instead. I added a few chocolate chips as well. Continue reading


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Strawberry Blackberry Oat Bars

berry oat bars
In honor of the brief break from the fourth, maybe fifth (I’ve lost track) polar vortex that has plagued the East Coast, and because it was 57 degrees today (woohoo!) I bring you these delicious strawberry blackberry oat bars. These strawberries and blackberries had been in the fridge for a bit and were looking a little wrinkly, so instead of tossing them, they went to good use.

berry oat bars
Mix the berries with the sugar and corn starch first. This gives the fruit time to release their juices. Continue reading


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Lightened Up Potato Salad

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For those of you who love potato salad (me!) or really any type of side that can go along with bbq, things off the grill, etc. (me!) but don’t always love all the calories that come along with mayo based dressing (ooh, me!) then this is the recipe for you.


taters ready to go!

Instead of using mayo to bind this potato salad together, I used plain nonfat Greek yogurt. If you don’t already know the substitution powers that plain Greek yogurt has, I recommend you pick some up next time you shop. It can replace mayo or sour cream in pretty much any dish.

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A few tips for this potato salad: I recommend making this dish the night before or the morning of. The longer the salad gets to sit with the dressing, the more the flavors meld together. Also, adding the dressing while the potatoes are still warm allows the potatoes to soak in the dressing flavors. Continue reading


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Salted Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats

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Who doesn’t love rice crispy treats?!? I mean, come on… what isn’t there to love about crispy cereal mixed with melted marshmallows and butter. NOTHING!

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This is a slightly amped up version of the classic. Melt the butter until it takes on a nutty aroma, add some flaky sea salt to the melty goodness, stir in your cereal and bam, a sweet treat in about five minutes! The cooling process is also sped up when you can stick them outside in zero degree weather (we are having another polar vortex here in Pennsylvania). Continue reading